In academia, students have the luxury of free LexisNexis and Westlaw. In the practicing world, firm economics limit the resources available to clerks and associates. While most firms pay a flat fee for Lexis and Westlaw (amount paid by the firm does not increase with usage), cost effectiveness is still important because:
1. A firm may purchase only part of Lexis or Westlaw, for example, Ohio materials, and must pay extra for off-plan materials accessed.
2. Firms may bill back to the client based upon the number of searches or number of documents retrieved.
3. The usage rates for Westlaw may impact the amount Westlaw will charge for next year's contract. Lexis says they no longer do this. Ask your sales representative whether this applies.
The techniques and tips offered here should help you conduct legal research in an efficient and cost-effective manner.